Understory Plants

Earthworms and Sugar Maple Saplings

Earthworms and Sugar Maple Saplings

Who would have thought that something so small would have such an impact on ecosystems? Lumbricus terrestris – the common earthworm – may not be as friendly as one might think. This species plays a major role in most ecosystems; in gardens and agricultural lands they are typically beneficial, but are they harming the iconic […]

The Effects of Beech Trees on Understory Diversity  

The Effects of Beech Trees on Understory Diversity  

Undergrowth, or the herbaceous layer, is made up of low-lying vegetation that grows below large trees. The competitive interactions between the dominant tree species and the herbaceous layer shape the characteristics of the forest and guide the developmental direction of the ecosystem over time (Gilliam, 2007). The herbaceous layer was assessed in the Morgan Arboretum […]

Buckthorn Abundance Along Edge Habitats: Morgan Arboretum

Buckthorn Abundance Along Edge Habitats: Morgan Arboretum

  Figure 1: One of the tree lines we studied, on a beautiful day. Introduction: The invasive European shrub known as Buckthorn, has been recently identified as detrimental to North American ecosystems (Mascoro, 2007). There are two types, Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) and Glossy buckthorn (Fragula alnus) (See figure 2). In the context of our […]

Medicinal Plants in the Morgan Arboretum

Medicinal Plants in the Morgan Arboretum

Dominant tree species within a forest have resounding effects on the developmental direction an ecosystem takes. Different types of trees can affect the soil properties, water, light availability, and in our case, understory growth. A large portion of understory plants have medicinal properties, making them of special interest to humans both historically, having been used […]

Intraspecific Competition within the Sugar Maple Species, Acer Saccharum, through the Assessment of Population Density and Size

Intraspecific Competition within the Sugar Maple Species, Acer Saccharum, through the Assessment of Population Density and Size

There are approximately 150 species of maple trees located within the Northern Hemisphere, with 10 of them native to North America (NRCAN-2015). One of the most commonly grown species of maple is the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum). Sugar maple is a keystone species, meaning it is a significant ecological element of Northern hardwood forests, like […]

Beechdrops at the Morgan Arboretum

Beechdrops at the Morgan Arboretum

Physical Description Beechdrops (Epifagus virginiana) are annual flowering plants which parasitize beech tree roots all over Eastern North America. They completely lack chlorophyll and have smooth, brownish stems and branches that reach a height of about 30cm (Musselman, 1982).  During our own observations, they were very easy to miss under all the autumn leaf litter, […]

Wild Ginger Within the Morgan Arboretum

Wild Ginger Within the Morgan Arboretum

Wild ginger is an understory perennial that grows up to 6 inches tall at maturity. It springs from an underground network of rhizomes and forms dark green, heart-shaped leaves about 3 inches in diameter. The clonal growth forms a mat of wild ginger that covers the ground, which prevents other seedlings from growing within the […]